14 Pages

Settlement and Acculturation in the Irish Sea Region

WithDavid Griffiths

The Cardiff conference on Viking-period settlement provided an opportunity to explore some geographically wide-ranging themes whilst remaining rooted in the ‘hard’ detail of locally-specific research strategies. As a counterpart focused geographically to the south of Barrett’s area, this chapter aims to show that the Irish Sea region forms an equally interesting case-study, not so much of the ‘event’ but of the process of Viking settlement. The Irish Sea region is a semi-landlocked maritime zone, once called the ‘British Mediterranean’ by the Edwardian Oxford geographer Halford Mackinder. It is more fashionable than it once was to treat archaeology in a maritime zone as an interrelated cultural network. The expulsion of the Norse from Dublin in 902 and their subsequent ‘arrival’ as settlers on the eastern seaboard of the Irish Sea has been almost universally seen as the context for the Viking settlement of north-western England and probably also parts of south-western Scotland.